Baku Travel Guide
Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is a city with a rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant modernity. Known as the City of Winds, it offers a unique blend of tradition and innovation, making it a must-visit destination for travelers.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the various aspects that make Baku a captivating city.
- Geographical Significance: Baku, situated on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, boasts stunning seaside views and experiences strong winds year-round. It is the largest city in the Caucasus region, with a population exceeding 2 million people.
Brief History of Baku
- Ancient Origins: Baku's history dates back to the 5th century AD, serving as a vital crossroads on the Great Silk Road.
- Conquests: The city endured Mongol and Ottoman invasions before becoming part of the Safavid Dynasty and later the Russian Empire.
- 20th Century: Baku was annexed into the USSR in 1920 and finally gained independence in 1991, becoming the leading economic and cultural center in Transcaucasia.
Attractions of Baku
- Baku Boulevard: A 25-kilometer-long seaside avenue along the Caspian Sea, known for its original architecture and winds.
- Old Town: A cobblestone labyrinth rich in history and Old World charm.
- Shirvanshahs Palace: Baku's medieval government headquarters and the setting for the famous Soviet movie "The Diamond Arm."
- Maiden’s Tower: A symbol of the city offering history lessons and stunning city views.
- Nagorny Park: Offers panoramic views of Baku and the Caspian Sea.
- Carpet Museum: Tells the story of Azerbaijan through traditional carpets.
- Heydar Aliyev Center: Impressive modern and contemporary art museum with unique architecture.
- Gobustan Museum of Petroglyphs: Ancient cave paintings.
- Yanardag: The ever-burning fire.
- Ateshgah Temple: An object of pilgrimage for Zoroastrians.
- National Museum of the History of Azerbaijan: Explore the country's rich history.
- Gala Open-Air Museum: Discover open-air exhibits showcasing Azerbaijani culture.
- Baku Museum of Miniature Books: Home to the world's three smallest books.
- Azerbaijan Carpet Museum: Housed in a building resembling a rolled-up carpet.
- Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall: Hosts classical and traditional concerts.
- Azerbaijan Drama Theater: Showcasing the country's finest plays.
- Russian Drama Theater: Known for its performances of classic Russian and Soviet literature.
- Baku Open-Air Cinema: Enjoy movies with the Caspian Sea as your backdrop.
- Officer Park: A green oasis with statues and charming footpaths.
- Central Botanical Garden: Home to over 2000 species of plants.
- Nizami Park: One of the oldest public parks offering respite in Old Town.
Shopping in Baku
- Green Market (Yasil Bazaar): A sensory experience with spices, clothing, and local products.
- Shopping Malls: Explore malls like Port Baku Mall, Ganjlik Mall, and 28 Mall for brand name shopping.
- Local Delights: Savor dishes like bozbash, dovga, Baku baklava, and shah-pilaf.
- Qutab: Try this flatbread stuffed with various fillings for a quick and tasty snack.
- Vegetarian Options: Explore vegetarian restaurants and cafes offering fresh salads and more.
- Coffee Shops: Enjoy Azeri tea, coffee, and pastries in cozy cafes.
Public Transport in Baku
- Buses: Affordable and comfortable transportation within the city.
- Metro: The Baku Metro with 26 stations and a convenient card system.
- Taxi: Well-developed taxi services with easy booking options.
- Car Rental: Explore Baku at your own pace with car rental services.
- Cycling: Discover Baku on two wheels, especially along Baku Boulevard.
Getting to Baku
- By Plane: Heydar Aliyev International Airport receives flights from around the world.
- By Land: Buses and trains connect Baku to neighboring countries, including Tbilisi, Georgia.
Languages in Baku
- Azerbaijani: The official language.
- Russian, Ukrainian, and More: Many residents speak other languages due to the diverse population.
- English: Commonly used in restaurants, cafes, and shopping areas.
- Azerbaijani Manat (AZN): The national currency, with a stable exchange rate.
- Cash: Keep smaller notes for small shops and cafes, as credit cards may not be accepted everywhere.
Safety in Baku
- Safe City: Baku is known for its safety, with a peaceful atmosphere.
- Valuables: Exercise caution in crowded areas and use certified taxis.
- Tap Water: Avoid drinking tap water for a short stay.
Baku is a city that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity, offering a diverse range of experiences for travelers. Whether you're interested in history, culture, cuisine, or simply enjoying the beautiful seaside, Baku has something to offer every visitor. Plan your trip to this captivating city and immerse yourself in the wonders of Baku, the City of Winds and Flames.